Fiat 124 Spider Forum banner
1 - 17 of 17 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all, I’ve noticed if I let the car sit for awhile. When I start her up there’s a good lifter knock but then it goes away. Is this a know issue for this car or do I have an issue lol
 

· Registered
Joined
·
342 Posts
As long as your oil is good, you should be fine. These engines don't like to sit. Most of us who store our cars over the winter do a regular warm up every 2-4 weeks.
 
  • Like
Reactions: CDPond

· Registered
2017 Abarth MT
Joined
·
43 Posts
Yeah, it's not really "lifter knock." The intake valves on these cars are hydraulically operated. The mechanism is commonly known as the "brick" and sits on top of the engine. If the car sits for a long time without the engine running, the oil in the brick drains, and when you go to start it the lack of hydraulic pressure can result in the engine running rough for a short period until the brick fills back up and there is adequate pressure to actuate the valves fully. In extreme cases, then engine won't start at all (there is a procedure for fixing that). The length of time varies by car. My 2017 Abarth can sit for up to six weeks without giving me any problems at all. Beyond six weeks, there is a good chance it will run a bit rough on startup, but only for 5-10 seconds before it smooths out.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yeah, it's not really "lifter knock." The intake valves on these cars are hydraulically operated. The mechanism is commonly known as the "brick" and sits on top of the engine. If the car sits for a long time without the engine running, the oil in the brick drains, and when you go to start it the lack of hydraulic pressure can result in the engine running rough for a short period until the brick fills back up and there is adequate pressure to actuate the valves fully. In extreme cases, then engine won't start at all (there is a procedure for fixing that). The length of time varies by car. My 2017 Abarth can sit for up to six weeks without giving me any problems at all. Beyond six weeks, there is a good chance it will run a bit rough on startup, but only for 5-10 seconds before it smooths out.
Thank you very much.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
116 Posts
Yeah, it's not really "lifter knock." The intake valves on these cars are hydraulically operated. The mechanism is commonly known as the "brick" and sits on top of the engine. If the car sits for a long time without the engine running, the oil in the brick drains, and when you go to start it the lack of hydraulic pressure can result in the engine running rough for a short period until the brick fills back up and there is adequate pressure to actuate the valves fully. In extreme cases, then engine won't start at all (there is a procedure for fixing that). The length of time varies by car. My 2017 Abarth can sit for up to six weeks without giving me any problems at all. Beyond six weeks, there is a good chance it will run a bit rough on startup, but only for 5-10 seconds before it smooths out.
Same here
 

· Registered
2017 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth, fully loaded from the factory, with just a wee bit of aftermarket mods.
Joined
·
3,539 Posts
Has yours always done this?
I recognize that your query wasn't directed at me, but I too have a 2017 Abarth. I used to let it go for six weeks, but gradually over time that resulted in rougher starts... and like others have noted, it just runs rough for a few seconds and then things smooth out. But since I don't like doing that to the engine, I now do monthly startups and just let it run till the cold engine light goes out, then shut it down and tuck her back under her winter blanket till we meet again a month later. It's a well known and documented situation here on the forum. The only variable is how long it can sit between start-ups without the brick draining enough oil to result in a rough engine start. Though the same engine is used on other vehicles, I think we're the only ones who've experienced this because most vehicles are used as daily drivers. Because of the Spider being what it is, a lot of us in colder climates choose to garage them over the winter months, resulting in the drainage problems not seen by those who daily drive their vehicles (Spiders or other models using the same engine).
 
  • Like
Reactions: mkinking30

· Registered
Joined
·
38 Posts
I recognize that your query wasn't directed at me, but I too have a 2017 Abarth. I used to let it go for six weeks, but gradually over time that resulted in rougher starts... and like others have noted, it just runs rough for a few seconds and then things smooth out. But since I don't like doing that to the engine, I now do monthly startups and just let it run till the cold engine light goes out, then shut it down and tuck her back under her winter blanket till we meet again a month later. It's a well known and documented situation here on the forum. The only variable is how long it can sit between start-ups without the brick draining enough oil to result in a rough engine start. Though the same engine is used on other vehicles, I think we're the only ones who've experienced this because most vehicles are used as daily drivers. Because of the Spider being what it is, a lot of us in colder climates choose to garage them over the winter months, resulting in the drainage problems not seen by those who daily drive their vehicles (Spiders or other models using the same engine).
I do the same. Start up day today so pulled the covers off to give Rita,Ruby and Sallie ( not Daisy the dumper) a little warm up. Would have liked to take them out for a bit of a run but for the first time in 11 years we have snow on the ground. ❄🌨
Automotive parking light Car Tire Wheel Land vehicle
 

· Registered
2020 Abarth 124 Brillante White Velleno package with Monza exhaust.
Joined
·
2,237 Posts
I do the same. Start up day today so pulled the covers off to give Rita,Ruby and Sallie ( not Daisy the dumper) a little warm up. Would have liked to take them out for a bit of a run but for the first time in 11 years we have snow on the ground. ❄🌨
View attachment 96865
Beautiful collection, even daisy🥰
 

· Registered
Joined
·
2,887 Posts
One negative I’ve read here about regular start-and-runs is condensation in the exhaust system. I’m going to try address that by being more open to taking the opportunity to drive my Spider.
 

· Registered
2017 Fiat 124 Spider Abarth, fully loaded from the factory, with just a wee bit of aftermarket mods.
Joined
·
3,539 Posts
One negative I’ve read here about regular start-and-runs is condensation in the exhaust system. I’m going to try address that by being more open to taking the opportunity to drive my Spider.
My P Zero Nero's are allergic to snow and ice, so that's not going to happen in my case. lol Okay, full disclosure... I also change my insurance coverage to a "garaged" status during the winter months, because, well... sometimes I'm a cheap ba$tard. :)

Joking aside, my understanding is that letting the engine run long enough to turn off the cold temp light is doing as much to mitigate the condensation issue as taking it for a short drive, and our exhaust system is stainless steel so it shouldn't be rusting. It's only if you run it a short time then shut down that it becomes something to worry about.... I think. I could also be dead wrong in those assumptions.

@SteveP. , what's the thoughts on this from a dealer service perspective? I know condensation is a natural byproduct of the fuel combustion process, and we've all seen water dripping from tailpipes on vehicles. If it truly is a serious issue, then I find myself between a rock and a hard place. I'm not going to winter drive the vehicle, but because of that, I also need to do regular starts to keep oil in the brick.
 

· Registered
2018 Abarth 124 Spider, Mare Blue / Nero Abarth Leather, Brembo's, Record Monza, Automatic
Joined
·
1,525 Posts
My P Zero Nero's are allergic to snow and ice, so that's not going to happen in my case. lol Okay, full disclosure... I also change my insurance coverage to a "garaged" status during the winter months, because, well... sometimes I'm a cheap ba$tard. :)

Joking aside, my understanding is that letting the engine run long enough to turn off the cold temp light is doing as much to mitigate the condensation issue as taking it for a short drive, and our exhaust system is stainless steel so it shouldn't be rusting. It's only if you run it a short time then shut down that it becomes something to worry about.... I think. I could also be dead wrong in those assumptions.

@SteveP. , what's the thoughts on this from a dealer service perspective? I know condensation is a natural byproduct of the fuel combustion process, and we've all seen water dripping from tailpipes on vehicles. If it truly is a serious issue, then I find myself between a rock and a hard place. I'm not going to winter drive the vehicle, but because of that, I also need to do regular starts to keep oil in the brick.
Hi Cal, some condensation in the exhaust system is the least of my worries, both as a technician and as an owner of a 124 Spider, Abarth version. I too put my car away for the winter - at a climate controlled indoor automotive storage facility ( www.portlandmotorclub.com ) , and, being the cheap ba$tard that I am:p, do not carry collision insurance in the 6 month winter period either , so wont be taking my car out in the snow and salt ! The fine folks at PMC start my car every 2 to 3 weeks, inside, and let it run for just a minute or two - not long enough to fully warm everything due to exhaust fumes and being inside. I just don't see this as a serious issue, and don't think it's worth losing any sleep over. Manufacturers are aware of the issue, most put little drain holes in the bottom of the ends of mufflers just for the water to drain out. (I do not know if our Fiat/RM mufflers have this feature - can't go and look right now, I could tell you better in the spring!). Any condensation sitting in the bottom of a muffler or lower parts of pipes would sit there until starting the car, and some may remain either because its frozen, or there is not enough exhaust flow and heat to fully remove said condensation. And, yes, the exhaust is made of stainless (but in the case of my RM, really "cheap" stainless). All that having been said, I'm much more concerned about keeping oil in the "brick", making sure regular maintenance is performed such as oil changes, spark plugs are correct and gapped properly to prevent misfires and potential cat damage, fuel is of high quality (top -tier) and of sufficient octane, etc. Maybe some others with long term experience wrenching for a living, such as @hefbadr and @mtnghost can weigh in here too . . . but in the meantime I am quite content to not worry about a little condensation in the exhaust. Best, s
 

· Registered
Joined
·
2,887 Posts
My P Zero Nero's are allergic to snow and ice, so that's not going to happen in my case. lol Okay, full disclosure... I also change my insurance coverage to a "garaged" status during the winter months, because, well... sometimes I'm a cheap ba$tard. :)

Joking aside, my understanding is that letting the engine run long enough to turn off the cold temp light is doing as much to mitigate the condensation issue as taking it for a short drive, and our exhaust system is stainless steel so it shouldn't be rusting. It's only if you run it a short time then shut down that it becomes something to worry about.... I think. I could also be dead wrong in those assumptions.

@SteveP. , what's the thoughts on this from a dealer service perspective? I know condensation is a natural byproduct of the fuel combustion process, and we've all seen water dripping from tailpipes on vehicles. If it truly is a serious issue, then I find myself between a rock and a hard place. I'm not going to winter drive the vehicle, but because of that, I also need to do regular starts to keep oil in the brick.
Rest assured that when I do drive my Spider in the winter I do so very gingerly within my 25 mph neighborhood.

Did you see my “mysterious liquid” post?

 
  • Like
Reactions: hefbadr
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top